Free play of the week: Stencylworks

By Thorin Klosowski in Indie Games
Monday, June 6, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Let's be honest -- the last thing you need to hear about right now is a new game. With E3 already blasting the expectation section of your brain into overdrive, we decided for this week's free play we'd do things a little differently, and write about a new, free program called Stencylworks that will help you make your own game, no matter how programming inept you are.

There have been plenty of interface-based game creation tools to hit the market over the years, but few have been as simple and powerful as Stencylworks. That has a lot to do with the programs pedigree. It uses Adam Saltman's Flixel library (which you'll recognize from Canabalt fame) for an engine, Box2D for physics and a drag-and-drop logic editor based on Scratch.

If none of that means anything to you, don't worry, that's about as complicated as things are going to get. The point of Stencylworks is to make game design accessible to anyone. To do so it utilizes a very simple drag-and-drop interface, includes a tutorial that will help you make your first game, and even comes preloaded with physics and generic settings for several genres.

It even comes fully loaded with free-to-use assets for a variety of different bugs, monsters, grasses, trees, aliens and everything else. Of course, if you'd like to add your own personality to you game, you certainly can; all it takes is a copy of MS Paint and an idea. There is even an entire eco-system built in for people to create and sell their own assets.

Stencylworks doesn't remove the brilliant-idea part that makes games so interesting, but it does make things easy to use and understand. Within half an hour you'll have a little dude jumping around and killing baddies on the screen. Then once you're finished with your masterpiece, it's as easy as clicking a few boxes to publish your Flash game to, Kongregate or your own website.

With E3 in full-bloom and hundreds of games being announced that look like all the games we saw at E3 last year, you might find yourself whining at the lack of innovation in the industry. Or you might just be squealing about Modern Warfare. Regardless, if you've ever fancied yourself a game designer but didn't want to bother learning anything, Stenyclworks is probably your best option.

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